The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable

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9780465051311: The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable

Starting with 9/11 and continuing with the quagmire in Iraq, the West was forced to interact more fully with the civilization of Islam. In The Universal Hunger for Liberty , statesman and award-winning author Michael Novak sets forth a new model for facing this very challenge-and for healing a still violently fractured world.We will only succeed in building a more harmonious world order, Novak argues, if we embrace the fundamental role of human liberty-as conceived by our Judeo-Christian founding fathers-in bringing about historical change. Can we also find Islamic grounds for political, economic, and religious liberty -and thereby, ensure a safe future for people in all corners of the globe? For Novak, the answer is a decided yes, and this book is a bold step forward in our thinking about the role we-collectively as the United States, and individually as believers in the gospel of freedom and human rights-should play in bringing that vision to fruition. Not since his pivotal The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism has Novak made such an urgent and needed call for the importance of democracy, capitalism, and religious freedom.

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About the Author:

Michael Novak, a former U.S. ambassador, has served under Democratic and Republican administrations. He is the author of Belief and Unbelief , The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism , and many other books. His essays and reviews have been published in the New York Times Magazine , National Review , and many others. He presently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Novak lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

From Publishers Weekly:

The desire for and pursuit of liberty is a key thread in both human and intellectual history, argues Novak (Business as a Calling), who goes on to say that despite the relative lack of liberty in the Muslim world, the concept of liberty has deep roots in Islam. This familiar topic is worthy of development, but unfortunately Novak shies away from addressing it in full until toward the book's end. The intellectual bulk of the book lies in his assessment of the philosophical, theological and economic values that drive liberal democratic capitalism. Novak, also the author of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, shines when fleshing out these concepts, including "moral ecology" (the way in which our surroundings influence and inform our sense of moral vision), using it as a way to engage the much-debated "clash of civilizations." Novak is particularly keen in his discussions of theology and gauging the extent to which religion will play an increasingly large role in world affairs during the 21st century. He cogently compares Catholicism's relative incorporation of democracy to the differing applications of Islamic law today. Ranging widely, Novak has a tough time developing some of his most relevant and provocative concepts, but offers a nicely contoured overview.
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